Yesterday, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a ten-year lease extension for the two-time WNBA Champion Seattle Storm at KeyArena. The agreement assures that the team will play its home games in Seattle through 2028.
“We talk at great lengths about the impact and role of the Seattle Storm fans on our franchise success, but in addition to an incredible team, staff and fan base; it takes a robust and reliable partnership with the city you play for and the arena you play in,” said Storm President & GM Alisha Valavanis. “In our case, those partnerships with KeyArena and the City of Seattle were formed at our franchise inception in 2000 and have been an integral part of our success every day since. Today confirms this yet again and for that we are deeply grateful. We are honored and energized by this incredible support.”
KeyArena will also be the host for the 2017 WNBA All-Star Game, set to take place this July. It will be the first time the event has been held in Seattle.
“Today is a great day for basketball fans in Seattle, as the Seattle Storm will call KeyArena home for the next decade,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “The Storm has been a fixture in the WNBA since 2000, bringing two championships and world-class entertainment to Seattle over nearly two decades. With today’s announcement, the Storm will continue to play in front of great fans and in the heart of the city. This agreement, along with the upcoming WNBA All-Star game hosted by the Storm this summer shows that Seattle is, and always will be, a basketball town.”
Of course, as we all know, KeyArena is in a bit of flux right now, with two groups trying to renovate it in order to bring back the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics as well as attract an NHL team. This was addressed in a five page fiscal summary addendum to the new lease agreement, which states as follows:
"While redevelopment of KeyArena is expected to be beneficial for the Storm, reservation of redevelopment rights and F10H’s loss of ability to enter long-term revenue generating agreements, like advertising and sponsorship agreements, may have negative financial impacts on the Storm. As consideration for these impacts, the City will pay F10H $100,000 per year, beginning in 2018. Appropriation for the payment will be requested in the 2018 budget."
The summary goes on to say that if the team is forced to play in an alternate location, the city would be required to pay them $260,000 per game for up to 10 games, or a sum of $2.6 million for 11 games or more.
As for the Sodo arena project, the Storm were mentioned in the original MOU between Chris Hansen’s ArenaCo team and the city, which stated:
The Parties hereby affirm the value and importance of maintaining the presence of a Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) team in the Seattle region. The current WNBA team is the Seattle Storm. The Parties shall use reasonable efforts to support the Seattle Storm or any successor WNBA team operating in Seattle at either the Arena or Key Arena.
Two weeks ago, Valavanis said the team is still open to playing in Sodo, should the city decide to go that route, and expressed confidence that another agreement could be reached.
“In the event the City decides to pursue the development of a SODO arena, based on our past experience working with the City of Seattle and Chris Hansen to complete the current MOU, we are confident that all three parties can come together again.”
While we still don’t know which arena will ultimately get the go-ahead, we do know that the Seattle Storm will be around for at least another decade.
The Storm host the Minnesota Lynx this Saturday at KeyArena at 6:00 pm. Tickets are available at TicketMaster.